For some reason, May is always the month when my reading kicks into high gear. It also helps to start reading a series that has tons of books in it so that I can just keep reading and requesting the next book in the series from the library. Basically, in May I read a good amount of books but none of them were particularly heavy or intense like some of the books I read last month, and they were a good palate cleanser as I plan to dive into some more serious works in June. Below, a wrap-up of my reading in May!
So I kind of lost my mind reading the Lady Emily mysteries in May. I had added the first book, And Only to Deceive to my TBR list long ago and randomly decided to read it after reading the second Veronica Speedwell book last month. I actually had planned to read the Lady Julia Grey mysteries by Deanna Raybourne but the hold list was longer so I ended up with this book instead. And I was instantly hooked! In book one, Lady Emily Ashton is an intelligent, curious woman in Victorian England who recently lost her husband while he was on a hunting trip with his friends, and is now navigating life as a widow in London. Emily barely knew her husband before they married, and he died so soon after they wed that she didn't feel much remorse for him, until she begins reading his journals and learning more about his inner life. She becomes immersed in Classical studies, her husband's former passion, and begins to enjoy the independence she has a wealthy, titled widow. She eventually falls into solving mysteries, and the subsequent books in the series take Emily from England and France to Turkey and Greece, and they are overall excellent escapist novels filled with rich atmosphere, unique characters, and engaging mysteries. They have mixed reviews on Goodreads but I can't help but love them. I really enjoy Tasha Alexander's writing style and feel very protective of Lady Emily. Book 6 is on my Kindle currently, waiting to be read.
In May, I wanted to get caught up with my Historical Romance Challenge, and read a good range of romances, including a pirate romance which was one of the categories to fill! That book, Scandalous Desires, sadly did not work for me and it was actually the lowest rating I've given to a book this year! I feel kind of bad because I know that everyone loves the Maiden Lane series, but I just could not get into it and I think pirates are just not for me. Lady in Disguise was also kind of a meh book for me, although the initial premise is intriguing: an upperclass woman whose family has fallen on hard times after her parents' death turns to disguising herself as a highwayman and robbing her rich neighbors to support her sisters, then accidentally robs her teenage sweetheart who has just returned to the village and happens to be super rich and handsome. Unfortunately the characters just didn't draw me in. I did enjoy A Talent for Trickery, however, which featured an ex-thief heroine helping a private investigator hero solve a series of coded letters that may be connected to her deceased father, who was an infamous thief as well as police informant. Cold-Hearted Rake was also pretty good, as Lisa Kleypas' writing is always beautiful and her stories well-crafted. I wasn't super in love with the heroine in the book, though, and didn't enjoy it quite as much as the books I've read by her in the past.
I read Songs of Our Breakup and Haven as part of the Contemporary Romance Challenge, and enjoyed both of them! I now need to pick up some of Rebekah Weatherspoon's backlist because I loved her writing style and her characters, and will probably read the other books in Jay E. Tria's Playlist series as well. Overall, I enjoyed the contemporary romances I read in May quite a bit more than the historical ones.
I finally read the first volume of the trade edition of Bitch Planet and I really liked it. I loved the art and overall style; I've seen the artist Valentine De Landro speak at last year's Book Riot Live, and he was awesome, so I knew I had to pick this series up eventually. I don't read a lot of graphic novels, although I loved them when I was a teen. I thought the characters were really cool and I would love to see this as a television series, as long as producers don't ruin it, which is often the case in TV adaptations. I just thought this title was super relevant to the times and if you haven't picked it up but like feminist works with retro throwbacks, this is a must-read.
Now that June has begun and it is officially Summer Reading season, I'm planning to switch up my reading life a bit and add in more literary fiction and contemporary fiction. I definitely go through reading phases and, with all of the genre fiction I read this past month, need to mix it up a bit as summer begins. Basically May was kind of a junk food array of books and I want to focus more on books that may not read as quickly but that have a lot of impact. At the same time, I'm (as usual) super behind on my reading challenges and still have some TBR catch-up to do. In summer, however, I like to let my mood guide my reading and not take things too seriously. What are you planning to read this summer? Let me know in the comments below!